Anaheim official says city will have NBA franchise in 5 year

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Clipper_FaN
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By ERIC CARPENTER

The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM " The Los Angeles Lakers make their annual pilgrimage to Anaheim tonight to play a preseason game at Honda Center.

For some local fans, it's an exciting chance to welcome their favorite team and send a reminder that Lakers fans come from Orange County, too.

But for others, it's a reminder that Anaheim " home to world-champion professional baseball and hockey " has yet to land a National Basketball Association team.

That could change soon, an Anaheim official said this week.

"I'm pretty confident that, maybe not next year, but within the next five years, Anaheim will have its own NBA team," said Greg Smith, executive director of sports, entertainment and conventions for the city.

Smith said he couldn't elaborate on behind-the-scenes negotiations, but he said he would expect to see an existing team move into Anaheim rather than an NBA expansion team.

Smith has worked for the city for more than 35 years and participated in previous negotiations that nearly landed an NBA team earlier this decade.

"I've seen a lot, and I can definitely feel the momentum building," Smith said.

The city and Anaheim Arena Management, the company that runs the Honda Center, are in the planning stages of making changes to the arena that would bring it up to NBA standards.

When the arena opened in 1993, it met those standards, Smith said. But in the 15 years since, those standards have changed, and the arena will have to adjust.

That includes building larger locker rooms, better sports medicine facilities and a half basketball court under the arena for practice and warmup purposes, Smith said.

"The Ducks have proven than an Orange County team can do extremely well," Smith said.

And the Angels continue to set attendance records, consistently drawing more than 3 million fans each season for the past six years.

The NBA has been extremely close to landing in Anaheim before.

From 1994 to 1999, the Los Angeles Clippers played several regular season home games at the arena " then called Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. And at one point, the Clippers were about to move to Anaheim, but the deal fell through at the last minute and the team stayed in Los Angeles.

Anaheim was also a finalist when the then Vancouver Grizzlies announced they were looking for a home. But the team fled for Memphis instead.

An NBA development league team " named the Anaheim Arsenal " came to the Anaheim Convention Center in November 2006. Attendance at home games has averaged fewer than 1,000 fans. The city had hoped for 3,000 or more fans per game.

But with so many entertainment options in Orange County, no comparison can be made between a minor league team and what an NBA team might draw, Smith said.

A pro basketball team also would help the Honda Center make enough profit for the city to see money from it, Smith said.

Currently, the city only sees money when the Honda Center makes $12 million or more. So far, it hasn't topped that figure.

When it does, the city would share 15 percent of the profits, according to a deal between Anaheim and arena management.

Meanwhile, Lakers officials say they are happy to play exhibition games in Anaheim, knowing thousands of Orange County fans consider the Lakers their home team.

"Orange County is still a very loyal fan base for us," said John Black, spokesman for the Lakers. "We consider our territory stretching down to San Diego and as far north as well."

Smith said Anaheim is becoming more and more attractive as a potential home for professional basketball.

"As the population of this area continues to shift east from Los Angeles, the center of the population is right here," he said. "This is a great market for basketball."

How do you guys think the Anaheim Clippers.... naw!!!!

ether
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It could be the Clippers these guys are talking about. They might have had initial exploratory discussions. Plus, IMO it doesn't make sense to bring a THIRD team into this area.

Does it makes sense to LAC? Maybe, Staples is a great venue; but moving would reduce the "LA's Other Team" or "Staples Roommate" image. Also could develop their own fan base in OC (as the Angels have)

Me? I live closer to the Honda than to Staples, but I work downtown. So it would mostly screw me and my brother (who shares my season tickets) would bail out.

Clipper_FaN
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i live near staples.... but i wouldnt mind this happening.... im a angels fan and consider Anaheim as part of L.A in some way!!!!

Hooch20
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This will never happen. Sterling loves LA. We also have a nice long contract with Staples Center.

Don't forget that we also built a new training facility in LA.

We're not going anywhere.

MrHill
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A third team coming to this market would cannibalize the Clipper fan base for sure. Selfishly, I would like for the Clips to stay in Los Angeles County, whether it building/renovating a new arena in downtown Long Beach (something I've suggested for years, and because of Long Beach's location, it's centrally located to northern Orange County and rest of southern Los Angeles County), or maybe teaming with UCLA for a new facility (there's been talk of at least renovating Pauley Pavillon, if not outright replacing it).

But if the Clips do decide to move to Anaheim, I wouldn't have any problem with it. I've never liked the idea of the Clippers and Lakers of sharing an arena together. Hell, let's send the Lakers down to Anaheim since they love 'em so much down there.

Yeah, I know that the practice facility is on the far west end of the city, but it's at least a 45-minute drive (in good traffic) from Playa Vista to Anaheim. For me, since I don't drive, it's gonna be a little hard getting to games...I know I could take the Metrolink right to the Big A, and then if I want, take a walk over to the Honda Ponda. Staples, based on my work location, is a ten-minute trip away via the subway, and if I'm going to the game after work, I'll just stay at work a little longer and leave directly to Staples.

Timmy2
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We can be the Los Angles Clippers of Anahiem lol

LAC_12
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No THANKS. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS is fine.

LAC.

clipperboy24
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haha i like, lol.

Yeah I would love the clipps to move to anaheim because:

1) tired of being in lakers shadow

2) the team needs their own arena

3) OC fans will shell out the bucks to go to games

plus i am in OC so works for me:)

laclippers
Clipper All-Star
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It's too much news for one day.....

It's not going to happen.

WE have a healthy long contract with Staples. It better not happen

Clipper_FaN
Clipper 6th Man
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New Orleans might move........ how bout Charlotte or maybe SACRAMENTO... THEY NEED A BIGGER ARENA OR SOMETHING RIGHT?

MrHill
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The Bobcats have a brand, spanking-new arena, and probably with an iron-clad lease...they aren't going anywhere. As for the Hornets...we all know that New Orleans' economy isn't that strong (and it was weak even before Hurricane Katrina), but if the team continues to play well and garner support, they'll in NOLA for awhile.

Sacramento is a different story...the Maloofs have let ARCO turn into a dump now (at least from what I see on TV), and the voters in the Sacramento area have turned down measures to help fund a new arena somewhere in city (two potential sites are at the Cal Expo fairgrounds just northeast of downtown, and another site near the Capitol building). Since the Maloofs have business interests in Las Vegas, the Kings could be heading there, if not staying in Sacto.

corgiBear8
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I hope its not the Clippers...OC is way too far for me to drive every game night. Plus, isn't it a long way from their practice facility. I think it might be a good move for them to get out from the shadows of the Lakers, but I'd rather see the Clippers stay at Staples and let the Lakers move to OC.

clipper*joe
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The Best way to get out of the shadow of the Lakers is to win and create our own shadow.

Clippersfan86
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I think us resigning to stay in LA at the staples center a couple years back was VERY STUPID. The franchise argued that the LA market is huge. Yes for the Lakers, but ever check our memorabilia and ticket sales? Not exactly tops in the league. I lIve 5 minutes from Anaheim and let me tell you every single Angel game seems sold out. Point is you people in denial claiming they wont do well in Anaheim are full of crap. We need to get out of the Lakers shadow and get our own city. There is a pretty big Clippernation here in OC. I travel 45 mins to Clips games so you guys can travel to Anaheim! Only sad thing is now that our tops in the league training center is complete.. i doubt they will move to OC, as it would not make much sense..

Number2
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I agree with Clipper Joe 100%.. plus I live on the westside.. so it would be a super long drive to get to Anaheim from LA, west LA area.. I would be traveling with traffic.. I would have to leave right at 5pm just to get there before 7pm..

Clippersfan86
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Lol.. i think it's a joke to say win to get out of Lakers shadow.. They have what 14 championships and 19 finals appearances? Plus a market to the degree where they probably get 50,000 band wagon wannabe fans a day added to their numbers. I mean in all honesty sharing a court with them we will NEVER over take them. We could win 9 straight titles right now and still wont break their shadow.

ekker3
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which NBA owner in their right mind would move their club to an area that already has 2 settled teams? i understand that the OC could shell out the big bucks but most of those residents are already established fans of LAL and LAC.

Clippersfan86
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Think about it logically. The last 8 years I've been a fan, when we play each other home or away they have way more fans than us. That's simply pathetic. Even years where we had more talent and a MUCH more exciting team, (Which was pretty much the whole time); They are more popular. Like i said, we need to move out!

ekker3
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realize that if we move out and stay in southern california (or the southwest US for that matter) we'll still get tons of laker fans at our games. it wont solve the problem.

the marketing department needs to step things up in selling out season tix.

Clippersfan86
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Not really.... Lol. If we move to Anaheim i'm sure a hell of a lot more OC fans will become Clippers fans. Especially if we win in our own city. We can start a big revolution like the Angels did. The Angels were nobody until they won the title in what 02? Now every game is packed and everyone here is fans. Reason is our OC teams sucked balls until the Angels brought winning baseball here. Clippers can do the same. I highly doubt Lakers fans will travel to OC unless they are Clippers fans also. I can guarantee 100 percent from being an OC native that Clippers vs Lakers games will be 75 percent Clips fans if the franchise moves to LA. Where as now.. we are lucky if the lakers have less than 50 percent of their attendance at OUR home games.

Clippersfan86
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Yes Lakers fans might still travel to watch team play Clippers, but nowhere near as much as now.

Clippersfan86
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Imagine IF we do your idea and shore up our marketing AND move to our own city? Those 2 things combined will put us out there real big.

ekker3
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like cockroaches, laker fans are EVERYWHERE! OC too!

Clippersfan86
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Lol. I agree but like i said I'm 100 percent sure it wont be AS bad as LA. Just having our own name and town can fire up the fans and players... It might be what we need. But anyways like i mentioned earlier, with new training center i doubt it will happen eh?

EG#23
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[quote="Clippersfan86"]Lol.. i think it's a joke to say win to get out of Lakers shadow.. They have what 14 championships and 19 finals appearances? Plus a market to the degree where they probably get 50,000 band wagon wannabe fans a day added to their numbers. I mean in all honesty sharing a court with them we will NEVER over take them. We could win 9 straight titles right now and still wont break their shadow.[/quote

If you feel so strongly about being in their shadow then maybe your cheering for the wrong team since will never even be close to them......

journeyman
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I think us resigning to stay in LA at the staples center a couple years back was VERY STUPID. The franchise argued that the LA market is huge. Yes for the Lakers, but ever check our memorabilia and ticket sales? Not exactly tops in the league.
For better or worse, Sterling's checkbook begs to differ. Also, about the Laker shadow. It's true that winning one or nine championships won't make us, in Laker fans' minds, superior. But I got news for you. The team could win 20 in a row and the ardent Laker partisans will never concede defeat. That isn't....

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Clippersfan86
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Not really EG... If that was the case we would be under the Celtics shadow along with the rest of the league.. Dont twist it. To play in Los angeles which is so dominantly a Lakers town DOES NOT HELP our chances of being an independently recognized team.

Clippersfan86
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Journey thanks for your post. I respect the way you word things and I'll be celebrating with you. I guess i just wish we didn't have to share everything with those damn Lakers! Serious i want for them to have their own city, own banners, own fans, own everything. I'm sick of us being in the cellar.

Hooch20
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I live in Santa Barbara and would no way drive the extra 45 miles to go to games. I'd cancel my season seats in a heartbeat.

Winning and having a fun team cures all. The year we went to the playoffs was a blast. Games were selling out and even Lakers home games against us were having more red.

Also think back to the last year Darius was with the team. That team was starting to win and was so much fun to watch. We sold out something like the last 18 games of the season. We were also in like the top 5 in apparel sales. This shows that there is a market for us if we are winning.

LA or Anaheim it doesn't matter, both cities want to watch a winner.

JamFan
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When the Clippers played home games in Anaheim, they Sold Out every game. Every game. If Sterling thinks he can sell out every game, this team will be moved. If he thinks there will be no increase in revenue, they stay.

MrHill
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I remember when the Clips played some of their home games between '94 and '99...at first, the games drew big crowds (basically doubling the average attendance per game at the Sports Arena), but the fanfare wore down gradually after awhile. Hooch said it best, the fans in Orange County, as well as Los Angeles, want to support a winner or at least a competitive team that may not win a lot of games (i.e. the 2000-02 teams). The saving grace of the Clippers staying in Los Angeles is that Sterling a steadfast Angelino through and through...the man grew up ten minutes east of where Staples currently stands. But eventually, whenever Sterling no longer owns the franchise, you better believe this franchise is moving out of Staples...I wouldn't be surprised if its within the next ten years. I just hope it stays here in the region.

We all know that Los Angeles (and Southern California as a whole) can support two NBA franchises, and if this Clipper team can building a winning tradition, everything else takes care of itself. Like I said before, I hate the Lakers and Clippers sharing an arena together, but I'm not too overly concerned about "getting out of the Lakers' shadow"...besides when Kobe leaves, so will a good chunk of their fanbase. Look happened when after Magic retired (the first time)...I remember seeing lots of empty seats at the old Forum (unless it was the Clips, Bulls, or another dominant team of the time coming in).

Clippersfan86
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To be quite blunt i DONT think everyone wants to watch a winner. Us as hardcore Clipper fans should know that. We pick one of the most losing franchises ever because we love the underdog, we grew up watching them and they always seem to be more exciting than the lakers (Minus showtime of course). You guys saying you'll drop season tickets? If you do that i can bet 2 more here in OC will buy them. And the most hardcore of our fans will travel. I travel 10-15 games a year to LA. Only reason i dont do more is 2 jobs and a very busy life. People here are much more affluent anyways so long term, Sterling can up prices if we start being contenders every year. Btw Jam is right.. every single game here in Anaheim sells out when the Clippers play. We are hungry for a basketball team..

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